We Are Sorry. . . .
Today, the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, apologized to the aboriginal peoples of Canada for our countries genocidal policy of removing native children from their parent's home and sending them off to residential school to deliberately rid them of their native heritage, family connections, language, and culture. In short to try to make native children, white European-Canadians, , speaking English or French.
To add insult to injury, many of these children were sexually and physically abused by their religious caregivers. The school were run by Catholic, Anglican and United Church religious workers.
This went on for three generations. The damage done to individuals, families and communities is immeasureable. It is a wonder there is any Native Canadian culture left.
Needless to say, It is a little late to be saying "Sorry". For years now the churches have been paying reparations. (After the victims struggled for justice) They long ago apologized. The government has also set up funds to compensate victims of the residential school system. (After the victims struggled for justice) Saying "Sorry" for this ill conceived policy is the last piece of the effort to restore justice to Canada's original people. It would be nice if the government would quickly and fully honour treaties that have been abused for over 150 years.
This period in Canadian history brings shame on us all. One would hope history will be taught in schools that reflect this.
It seems the aboriginal peoples are satisfied with the goverment's heart felt admission for its part in this travesty. If they are satisfied I guess we all should be satisfied.
The future will speak of how sincere the government and all of Canada is as remaining serious issues between the First Nation's People and the Federal Governement are worked out.
My less sceptical sister sent me this note:
"I shed a tear today as I watched the Prime Minister of Canada and all the other Leaders of political parties acknowledge that a terrible wrong had been done to our First Nations peoples when residential schools were created to "take the Indian out of the child." This Eurocentric policy has wreaked havoc on aboriginal societies ever since. As a teacher of Canadian history I have long been concerned that many Canadians did not know about or understand how our First Nations have been abused ever since Europeans first arrived on these shores. Today's words will now have to be put into action if the apology is to become "real" for those who have been wronged. If you were not able to see the TV broadcast check out http://www.cbc.ca/ As well the CBC is running a series of documentaries about the issue called "Stolen Children."
I hope she is right.
Here are Prime Minister Harper's apology. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/06/11/pm-statement.html
For more information http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/truth-reconciliation/